Washington Man Suspected in Wife’s Death is Free to Leave State

February 21, 2020, 6:31 PM HST (Updated February 21, 2020, 6:31 PM)
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Smriti Saxena.

A cause of death is yet to be determined on a Washington woman found dead on the southern shoreline of ‘Anaeho’omalu Bay a couple days ago.

Smriti Saxena’s husband, Sonam Saxena, 43, of Bellevue, Washington, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of second-degree murder. However, he was released after 24 hours.

An autopsy was conducted on 41-year-old Smriti Saxena, but further testing is needed to determine the exact cause of death, according to Hawai‘i Police Department.

Sonam Saxena was released pending investigation. Detectives with Hawai‘i Police Department’s Area II Criminal Investigation Section are continuing this investigation.

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“Death and circumstances is enough to say she was killed by her husband,” said Area II Assistant Chief Robert Wagner. “(However) Without a definite cause of death we cannot charge him with his wife’s death.”

Wagner said police do believe that determination will come.

Smriti Saxena was first reported missing by her husband Tuesday at 11:20 p.m. Hawai‘i Police Department put out a text alert at about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday asking the for public’s assistance in locating the Washington woman.

Officers instigated an investigation when a woman’s body was found at around 7 a.m. Wednesday on the southern shoreline of ‘Anaeho’omalu Bay. Later that day, Sonam Saxena was taken into custody on suspicion of his wife’s murder and held at Kealakehe Police Station.

Sonam Saxena, a product manager for Google Cloud, is free to leave the island. If police gather enough evidence, Wagner said, they will obtain a warrant for his arrest, likely through a grand jury.

Wagner didn’t know when Sonam Saxena was scheduled to leave the Big Island.

Sonam and Smriti Saxena did travel here with their two children. After Sonam Saxena’s arrest, Child Protective Services took the children. Wagner believed CPS turned the kids over to the suspect’s brother, “who flew in somewhere.”

The investigation is ongoing. Police ask anyone who may have been in the area or near the south beach of ‘Anaeho’omalu Bay or may have seen Sonam or Smriti Tuesday evening (Feb. 18) to please contact Detective Keith Simeona at 808-326-4646 x281, email [email protected] or call the police department’s non-emergency number at 808-935-3311.

 

 

 

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat. Tiffany is an award-winning journalist, receiving recognition from the Utah-Idaho-Spokane Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists. Tiffany grew up on the Big Island and is passionate about telling the community’s stories.

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